Delusions of Adequacy: Hello Holly! Hello David! It is so lovely to be able to do this interview with you both, especially since you’re in the midst of a whirlwind tour of the U.S.. What’s it all been like? Fun? Nuts? Eye-opening? Maybe all of the above? Have you visited the U.S. before as a band?
The Lovely Eggs: Yeah it’s been brilliant. We’ve been here for 5 weeks now and we’ve been just having such a swell time! We’ve been to AmericaLand before a couple of times. In fact we played our first ever gig in NYC but this is our first full tour of the States. The first half of the tour we just did on our own on the West Coast and for the last few weeks we’ve been cantering round with our American label mates Cars Can Be Blue and we are just having the best time ever! We think we are slowly killing ourselves though! But it’s nutty fun like a Walnut Whip! We’ve been getting drunk and doing stupid stuff like entering female arm wrestling competitions! That happened in Chicago. There was this female arm wrestling contest and the prize was $100 so we thought what the heck and entered it! Holly and Becky from CCBB got pulverised by these big hard roller girls but we can still play guitar just, so everything’s cool. We passed on the mud wrestling the next day on the way to Cleveland though, tempted as we were!
Our favourite places we have played so far have been a house show in Portland which was crazy like Halloween and another good one was Book Zoo in Oakland because we got to play in a book shop and we love playing in weird places where you are not really meant to play. Plus we could pick any books we liked from the shelves after the gig which was a magical moment for us. We were like kids in a sweetshop. That gig was with Agent Ribbons who are ace and we were all trotting round like fruitcakes choosing books and drinking beer! We also loved our gig in NYC cos we played with our pals Schwervon! Who we LOVE! It’s just great to be playing with so many bands we like and then discovering really ace bands we haven’t heard before.
DOA: Your debut album, If You Were Fruit, broke out in the U.K. in June of this year on Cherryade Records. What’s the plan for a U.S. release? Will it be put out on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records?
The Lovely Eggs: The album If You Were Fruit is actually out NOW on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records! You can buy it from our shows or get it online from the HHBTM website and it’s also available in the shops too! There are lots of extra tracks on the American release (from our vinyl UK releases) and also different artwork from our UK release by our favourite Jon, Jon Jon Jon Jon Jon Jon Jon Jon Jon Carling who is an artist from America who draws about owls.
DOA: Can you go into detail about the sound and themes of the album? From the songs I’ve heard, you combine playful and catchy sing-song melodies and strummed guitar with more rockin’ guitar discord and shouty vocals, like an exuberant mash-up of twee and riot grrl sensibilities.
Holly: Well, a lot of the album is about death. We lost two friends last year and it affected us quite badly which comes across in the album. It’s all affected by that really. Even the happy songs are valiant efforts to pull ourselves from the deep sad sea. We suppose we like simple things too. Whether it be in music or in books or in paintings we really like to keep things SIMPLE! There is no point making a meal out of a song when you can just do it in a really stripped down, raw way. We think somehow that way it is more real. So that explains that side of things and I grew up listening to Riot Grrrl so I am well into that so that tells you why we are driving on THAT side of the road.
DOA: In your songs you contrast seemingly simplistic subjects like animals, food, and life ‘n’ death, as you mentioned previously, with a sweetly winsome innocence to the vocal delivery that belies the fact that something a bit more sinister or off-kilter is afoot. For instance, on “Mices” the lyrics focus on, well, mice, until the thrashing chorus that reveals there are sharks in the waters (sorry for the plot spoiler!). Do you enjoy luring the listener in with honey and then bludgeoning him or her over the noggin with a 4×4? I certainly enjoy it!
The Lovely Eggs: Yes we suppose we like the thrill of the chase. We actually tried to lure some bears out when we were in the wilderness in Yosemite, but they didn’t dig Cheese Butties. When we are writing songs we just write about things that happen in our life. We don’t spice stuff up with hot sauce or ranch dressing or anything. We just write songs about stuff we care about and maybe idiotic thoughts that we think, but it’s all TRUE and real and has a story behind it so hopefully people see the honesty in our music and that’s what turns their little radiators onto us. We don’t have an agenda or anything, we just write songs about life.
DOA: I detect some of your musical influences in your sound and vocals, like Bikini Kill and The Moldey Peaches, but I also hear a bit of Huggy Bear, Bis, Comet Gain, and maybe a dash of Bearsuit and The Terrordactyls. Sorry to try to put a label on your sound, but is there any “catch phrase” way to describe it?
The Lovely Eggs: Nope. Keep on pressing and guessing. Just watch Mr. Chips.
DOA: Your MySpace profile is at http://www.myspace.com/thelovelyeggs and it’s your official site. You have a merchandise site on MySpace called The Lovely Eggs Post Office where you sell T-shirts, badges, cozies (eh?), temporary tattoos, even dolls of the each of you, as well as your music. Is this the best way to purchase your album and other products? Who designed the cool T-shirt? Who is making the dolls?
Holly: Well MySpace were bloody buggers and deleted all the PayPal links we had on our MySpace Post Office! Boo Hiss! So now what you do is visit the Post Office just to browse at www.myspace.com/thelovelyeggspostoffice and then send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you want to order. We tell you how much loot to PayPal us and “Bob’s your uncle” we send it over to you! You can also buy music from the Cherryade Records website and the HHBTM website and also from iTunes. The dolls were made by our good pal Helen Smithson who runs a little company called Kiss Prudence. Check her out on Etsy.com! Her stuff is ace! We just wanted to sell some different things at our gigs cos a lot of bands’ merchandise is BORING so we wanted to sell other things. It drives us up the WALL making things and sticking and drawing and whatnot but it keeps us out of trouble. I designed the T-shirt/pillow/cheese wrapper/duster, etc., etc.
DOA: The Lovely Eggs was conceived in 2006 and you’ve had airplay on BBC Radio and XFM and recorded radio sessions for Marc Riley and Huw Stephens. It seems like the radio format is a thriving tradition in the U.K., especially with certain hosts like Mark Radcliffe, Marc Riley, and of course, the late, great John Peel. This outlet doesn’t seem to be that viable in the U.S., where most radio stations play only Top 40 hits or target niche markets. Is this the main way these days to get noticed and gain acclaim in the U.K.?
The Lovely Eggs: Errr… we’re not really sure about what is the main way to do anything in the music industry really. We are completely clueless about that side of things. All we can say is that we’re really grateful for all the radio play we have got. We suppose it has got us noticed more which is good. We’ve maybe met more bands and played more gigs and met more friends because of it and we LOVE meeting bands and playing gigs and making friends. Plus it’s nice to record sessions and have people hear you and all that.
DOA: Speaking of getting noticed, in the U.S. you’re on the record labels Filthy Little Angels and Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. How did you hook up with them? At the time of writing this, you’re set to play the HHBTM Records 10 Year Party in a couple of days, but by the time you get to this, it will be after the party, so – how was the bash? Was it a smash?
The Lovely Eggs: Yes the HHBTM party was a blast! It was our first date of the tour so we were all excited about going on tour so it was an ace first gig to set the bowling ball off. We only ever released one split 7” with Filthy Little Angels which was only released in the UK. Our only label in the USA at the moment is HHBTM and everything we have released in the UK is with Cherryade Records. They just asked to release something by us and we said YES like The Man from Del Monte. Simple as In Watermelon Sugar!
DOA: In October 2008 you released the EP Have You Ever Heard The Lovely Eggs?. Did any of the songs off the EP carry over to the album and is there a difference in song production or style between the EP and the full-length?
The Lovely Eggs: Well yes no yes no maybe. On the UK release of the album, the title track of the EP “Have You Ever Heard a Digital Accordion” appears on the album as well as “I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too” which was our first vinyl release. But Americans are lucky birds because the full UK EP appears as bonus tracks on the album! Yee Ha!
DOA: The Lovely Eggs formed in 2006 and your first studio recording was the EP in 2008. What was the reason for the time-gap between your start and the recorded work? Were you coming up with songs during that 2-year period and testing them out live? Were there any songs that you ditched along the way, or that you’ve saved to only play live?
The Lovely Eggs: Actually, our first release was on a Dutch compilation album in 2006 and we appeared on a few compilations before our first split release of I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too in 2008. To be honest we can’t remember what we were doing. We drink a lot of red wine and eat a lot of cheese and it’s all a bit like mushy peas. We have ditched lots of songs along the wayside though. They are like Dick Turpin waiting to rob you by the wayside!
DOA: Neither of you are strangers to the music scene, with Holly previously in the band Angelica as lead singer and guitarist and David previously in the band 3D Tanx as guitarist and sitar player.
Holly, you were part of Angelica from 1994 to 2002 or 2003, recorded Peel Sessions, played the Reading Festival, and went on a European tour in 2002 as support for Babes In Toyland (one of my most fave bands! Yeah!). Is it safe to say that you’ve run the gauntlet and are now wiser about the music biz or are there still perils and surprises and things that you’ve learned to do differently?
Holly: Wiser like an OWL! And my head can turn round quite well too, apart from when I’ve been sleeping on floors for a while and it’s got a CRICK!
DOA: David, you were a guitarist (and sitar player) in 3D Tanx, and now in The Lovely Eggs you have drumming duties, as well as playing the guitar and singing. Was this an easy musical switch for you? What other instruments are you playing on the new album? Is there any sitar in there?
David: It was as hard as Highland Toffee getting to learn them damn drums! But someone had to do it and I built a drumcycle and rode off and now it’s a bit better. I just learnt to play as we went along. There are loads of other instruments on the album because I love collecting them and want to use them whenever I can. Driving through the wildlife park you will hear a zither, a typewriter, banjo, ukulele, stylophone, glockenspiel, vibraslap, triangle, recorder – we basically play anything we can get our hands on. No sitar though this time.
DOA: Holly, the The Seven Year Itch album by Angelica was produced by Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland and Katastrophy Wife. Being a big ‘n’ long-time fan of Kat’s, I just have to ask what it was like to work with her in the studio.
Holly: It was good. Shock factor really cos she was one of my idols too. We recorded the whole thing in 7 days so we didn’t spend that much time with her so I didn’t get to know her really well or anything. I think she was like what I expected – mad and bad and amazing. It was just ace to record with her.
DOA: Holly and David, Angelica and 3D Tanx put out one and two albums respectively, so you’ve both been through the process of recording an album already. Did that help you with the fruition of If You Were Fruit?
Holly: No not at all. We were like two mentalists recording our album. Cos there is only 2 of us we can never decide on anything and we record everything ourselves so there is no objective opinion! I drew a cartoon about our heads blowing up on the mixing of that album. Awful, but like having babies, we will probably do it again. The sex is good but the birth bit is painful bringing tears to the eyes like pickled onions!
DOA: Speaking of food, I’ve heard that you have a thing for cheeses, just like Steven of Blood Red Shoes. I prefer a good brie or solid cheddar. What are your favorite cheeses and do you eat them as is or on crackers or toast?
Holly: We LOVE Garstang Blue which is a blue cheese made in a small village called Garstang just down the road from us. In fact we wrote a song about it called “Garstang Blues” about how much we miss it when we go away. It’s sexual though and my mum says it’s rude. There’s a blue vein involved you see.
There’s also nothing like a good old fashioned mature cheddar. Mild cheeses deserve to burn in fondue hell! And we’ll take cheese any style. Crackers can be good but just a big wedge of cheddar and a glass of Vino Collapso can be ace too.
DOA: Is being in The Lovely Eggs all it’s cracked up to be? Do you sometimes wish you had called yourselves The Lovely Limburgers?
The Lovely Eggs: The Lovely Eggs is here to stay! As The Grumbleweeds said “Let The Good Times Roll!” or in the words of the Wurzels “I’ll Give You a Brand New Combine Harvester I’ll Give You The Key!”.